Developments in electronic skin (e-skin) encompass a wide range of applications beyond healthcare. Healthcare e-skin implementations in the form of skin patch sensors, tactile sensors for prosthetics, and direct printed on-skin sensors apparently are just the start. We’ve written in the past about electronic skin that detects UV exposure, senses change in direction, changes color or glows under pressure, and tracks pH.

Future Market Insights (FMI) recently published a commercial report on the electronic skin market that analyzes industry growth from 2013 to 2017 and assesses opportunities through 2028. The FMI study segments electronic skin markets by component, region, and application. While our focus is healthcare, other e-skin markets include consumer electronics, automotive, telecommunication, retail, aerospace, defense, and more. Healthcare e-skin applications lead all areas, FMI reports, a position projected to last at least through 2028.

FMI also predicts that e-skin for wearables will drive further adoption in healthcare. Focus on diet and lifestyle due to awareness of health consequences and the global desire for improved fitness provide the greatest demand for smart wearables. Aging and increased incidence of chronic diseases influence the development of electronic skin for remote health monitoring applications. Remote disease management via electronic skin patches with related data collection and analysis devices and systems will also contribute to the e-skin market growth.

Enabling technologies for electronic skin that will flourish include stretchable circuits, stretchable conductors, electro-active polymers, photovoltaics, and others. North America is the current e-skin global market leader but the industry and the markets are growing worldwide.